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City of Storied Streets

Yocheved Lavon

Perhaps no city in the world has such a colorful variety of street names as Jerusalem, and that is no wonder, considering the array of people who have lived in, revered, dreamed of, written and sung about, struggled, and battled over the ancient capital of the Land of Israel. Rabbi Berel Wein, who made aliyah to Jerusalem nearly fifteen years ago, takes us on a tour of Holy City and talks about the history behind the street signs.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It’s a sparkling, early-spring morning in Jerusalem. The window boxes encircling the Kings’ Hotel are overflowing with miniature, purple-and-gold pansies, and the sky is a crystalline blue. We couldn’t have picked a better day for a tour of the city’s streets and a study of their intriguing names — a subject worth studying, because where else in the world can you find street signs with little “peirushim” or biographical notes on the street’s eponym? Our guide is none other than the Torah and history scholar Rabbi Berel Wein, head of the Destiny Foundation, who has spent much of his diverse career zealously advocating the study of Jewish history. In fact, it is the varied and rich historical associations of Jerusalem’s streets names that make them a favorite topic for Rabbi Wein. “You won’t find any Second Avenue or Third Avenue in Yerushalayim,” he says. “Here, every street name has meaning. In fact, you could learn all of Jewish history by studying what lies behind all these names.”

 

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